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A Compelling Internal Evidence Of The Book Of Mormon


consiglieri

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In Mosiah 28:17, we read that Mosiah translated the records of the Jaredites.

Immediately therafter, in chapter 29, Mosiah tries to find a successor to him in the kingship, but all of his sons have left on a mission to the Lamanites, including Aaron who apparently would have been the one "to whom the kingdom doth rightly belong." Mosiah 29:6

Mosiah then expresses his fear of appointing somebody else to be king, and gives as his reasons:

And who knoweth but what my son, to whom the kingdom doth belong, should turn to be angry and draw away a part of this people after him, which would cause wars and contentions among you, which would be the cause of shedding of much blood and perverting the way of the Lord, yea, and destroy the souls of many people. Mosiah 29:7.

The only place in the Book of Mormon where we read of this type of scenario occurring is in the Book of Ether, which is an abridgement of the history of the Jaredites, which history Mosiah is depicted as just having translated.

Here are some examples of this phenomenon in the Book of Ether, which even uses some of the same language as that used by Mosiah:

And when Corihor was thirty and two years old he rebelled against his father, and went over and dwelt in the land of Nehor; and he begat sons and daughters, and they became exceedingly fair; wherefore Corihor drew away many people after him. Ether 7:4

The same thing then happens to Corihor!

And it came to pass that Noah rebelled against Shule, the king, and also his father Corihor, and drew away Cohor his brother, and also all his brethren and many of the people. Ether 7:15

And it happens again:

Now the people of Akish were desirous for gain, even as Akish was desirous for power; wherefore, the sons of Akish did offer them money, by which means they drew away the more part of the people after them. Ether 9:11

And again:

And it came to pass that Com drew away the half of the kingdom. Ether 10:32

_______________________

Here is where things get interesting:

The concept of the children of kings rebelling against their fathers and drawing away people after them, leading to wars and bloodshed among the people, occurs only in the Book of Ether. It occurs nowhere else in the Book of Mormon in that part of the record dealing with the history of the Nephites.

It is therefore evident from the text that Mosiah had indeed just read the account of the Jaredites, and that his concerns reflect a familiarity with the events of the Jaredites.

The Book of Ether, however, is the penultimate book in the Book of Mormon.

This makes sense if we take the Book of Mormon at face value.

It does, however, raise a serious question for those who propose an alternate means for the production of the Book of Mormon.

If Joseph Smith were just making up the Book of Mormon as he went along, how do we account for Mosiah's familiarity with the history of the Jaredites when that history has not yet appeared in the Book of Mormon, and indeed will not appear for hundreds of pages? And especially when Mosiah's familiarity with the record of the Jaredites includes even using the same wording of "drawing away people after" the rebelling royal child?

I find this a compelling internal textual evidence of the Book of Mormon.

Any thoughts?

--Consiglieri

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Any thoughts?

yes there is also the example of Judas -- Acts 5:37

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NASB: "After this man, Judas of Galilee rose up in the days of the census and drew away some people after him; he too perished, and all those who followed him were scattered. (NASB

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Evolving, the account in Acts has nothing to do with a kingship and sons disputing rightful claims to a throne.

consliglieri, you've done it again. good job.

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In the interests of full disclosure, this item was brought to my attention a number of years ago in what I believe was a FARMS publication.

I do not recall who authored this piece, but I have long felt that it did not get the attention it deserved.

All the Best!

--Consiglieri

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All this, and humble, too.

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In Mosiah 28:17, we read that Mosiah translated the records of the Jaredites.

Immediately therafter, in chapter 29, Mosiah tries to find a successor to him in the kingship, but all of his sons have left on a mission to the Lamanites, including Aaron who apparently would have been the one "to whom the kingdom doth rightly belong." Mosiah 29:6

Mosiah then expresses his fear of appointing somebody else to be king, and gives as his reasons:

And who knoweth but what my son, to whom the kingdom doth belong, should turn to be angry and draw away a part of this people after him, which would cause wars and contentions among you, which would be the cause of shedding of much blood and perverting the way of the Lord, yea, and destroy the souls of many people. Mosiah 29:7.

The only place in the Book of Mormon where we read of this type of scenario occurring is in the Book of Ether, which is an abridgement of the history of the Jaredites, which history Mosiah is depicted as just having translated.

Here are some examples of this phenomenon in the Book of Ether, which even uses some of the same language as that used by Mosiah:

And when Corihor was thirty and two years old he rebelled against his father, and went over and dwelt in the land of Nehor; and he begat sons and daughters, and they became exceedingly fair; wherefore Corihor drew away many people after him. Ether 7:4

The same thing then happens to Corihor!

And it came to pass that Noah rebelled against Shule, the king, and also his father Corihor, and drew away Cohor his brother, and also all his brethren and many of the people. Ether 7:15

And it happens again:

Now the people of Akish were desirous for gain, even as Akish was desirous for power; wherefore, the sons of Akish did offer them money, by which means they drew away the more part of the people after them. Ether 9:11

And again:

And it came to pass that Com drew away the half of the kingdom. Ether 10:32

_______________________

Here is where things get interesting:

The concept of the children of kings rebelling against their fathers and drawing away people after them, leading to wars and bloodshed among the people, occurs only in the Book of Ether. It occurs nowhere else in the Book of Mormon in that part of the record dealing with the history of the Nephites.

It is therefore evident from the text that Mosiah had indeed just read the account of the Jaredites, and that his concerns reflect a familiarity with the events of the Jaredites.

The Book of Ether, however, is the penultimate book in the Book of Mormon.

This makes sense if we take the Book of Mormon at face value.

It does, however, raise a serious question for those who propose an alternate means for the production of the Book of Mormon.

If Joseph Smith were just making up the Book of Mormon as he went along, how do we account for Mosiah's familiarity with the history of the Jaredites when that history has not yet appeared in the Book of Mormon, and indeed will not appear for hundreds of pages? And especially when Mosiah's familiarity with the record of the Jaredites includes even using the same wording of "drawing away people after" the rebelling royal child?

I find this a compelling internal textual evidence of the Book of Mormon.

Any thoughts?

--Consiglieri

This works ONLY if you start off with the belief the BOM is true and is revealed scripture. If you look at it from the point of view in which it was written by Joseph and others, then it doesn't hold up in my opinion. It is not that far of a stretch to imagine traitors within a royal family, Thousands of stories involve this SAME basic idea, and many predate 1820. Mosiah was a king and he was worried about his kingdom.

"And who knoweth but what my son, to whom the kingdom doth belong, should turn to be angry and draw away a part of this people after him,which would cause wars and contentions among you, which would be the cause of shedding of much blood and perverting the way of the Lord, yea, and destroy the souls of many people." Mosiah 29:7

This statement is just common sense, If Mosiah were to make someone else king and then the rightful heir to the throne were to return, what would you do if you were a prince and came back to see YOUR inheritance given to your cousin or someone else? You would return and CLAIM what is rightfully yours right? AND if this person to whom YOUR inheritance was given was doing things that are not righteous would you not fight?

IMO it could just as easily be said that Joseph Simply took an idea HE established a few hundred pages prior in Mosiah and reused it kinda like a PREQUEL in Ether.

Now if Mosiah had maybe mentioned an example from Ether in his reasoning, Or mentioned the Jaredites themselves, you may have a better argument, but then again The BOM without ANY available "plates or scrolls" is a work that will be as faith based as Joseph himself, It can't be proven. No tangible evidence forces it to remain a work of fiction in the minds of many. Find some plates and subject them to the world and then The BOM will gain the same respect as the Bible without them it is all faith.

Regards,

Sentinus

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I want to explain my reasons for asking about the Book of Ether. I am not well familiar with the origins of the Book of Ether. My idea is that if the Book of Ether cannot be accounted for outside of Mormonism then the references in Mosiah do not present obstacles for a person who thinks that the Book of Mormon was not divinely inspired. The premise being that if Joseph Smith and/or other persons authored the Book of Mormon out of whole cloth, the use of one book contained therein to prove another book internally is not evidence that either book is authentic in it's divine inspiration.

Hope that makes sense.

Jersey Girl

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I want to explain my reasons for asking about the Book of Ether. I am not well familiar with the origins of the Book of Ether. My idea is that if the Book of Ether cannot be accounted for outside of Mormonism then the references in Mosiah do not present obstacles for a person who thinks that the Book of Mormon was not divinely inspired. The premise being that if Joseph Smith and/or other persons authored the Book of Mormon out of whole cloth, the use of one book contained therein to prove another book internally is not evidence that either book is authentic in it's divine inspiration.

Hope that makes sense.

Jersey Girl

Only if it wasn't revealed chapter by chapter in the order given. Where it comes in the book is very signficant. Also significant as Consigni pointed out, the scenario found in the book of Ether is the only place it is found in the whole of the BoM. The reference to the scenario only comes once and that is right after Mosiah translated it.

It is really cool.

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Great observation, consiglieri.

Those who have posted negative responses to your analysis apparently don't understand the meaning of "internal evidence." Of course, your observation doesn't "prove" the Book of Mormon, but it does demonstrate another element of its internal consistency -- something that an author who is "making it up as he goes" would have great difficulty in maintaining.

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Jersey girl, and sentinus, I am not a expert. But this is what I see here.

The argument you are using, that the Book of Mormon was a 19th century fictional work, is tenuous at best. There are many internal evidences that this simply wasn't the case. However, if one ignores those, your argument is in the "Joseph made it up camp." One group says he was a gifted story teller and he just made it up as he went along. That would not be possible in your scenario, since you think there was preparation and revision going back and forth on a prepared manuscript.

So, you are left with the prepared manuscript version. Joseph (most likely not Joseph considering his education at the time) or others researched the esoteric and archane references, wrote it, corrected it, revised, etc. and then gave it Joseph to dictate to scribes.

But now we come to the unbelievable part of this argument: All the witnesses to the translation, not just some, but all attest that Joseph Smith did not use any manuscript pages in producing the text. He dictated to a scribe. So how did he do that? Memorized overnight? Try memorizing 10 pages of the King James Bible over night, and then dictate it word for word to someone the next day. If you can do that once, try doing it for 50 days in a row.

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Jersey girl, and sentinus, I am not a expert. But this is what I see here.

The argument you are using, that the Book of Mormon was a 19th century fictional work, is tenuous at best. There are many internal evidences that this simply wasn't the case. However, if one ignores those, your argument is in the "Joseph made it up camp." One group says he was a gifted story teller and he just made it up as he went along. That would not be possible in your scenario, since you think there was preparation and revision going back and forth on a prepared manuscript.

So, you are left with the prepared manuscript version. Joseph (most likely not Joseph considering his education at the time) or others researched the esoteric and archane references, wrote it, corrected it, revised, etc. and then gave it Joseph to dictate to scribes.

But now we come to the unbelievable part of this argument: All the witnesses to the translation, not just some, but all attest that Joseph Smith did not use any manuscript pages in producing the text. He dictated to a scribe. So how did he do that? Memorized overnight? Try memorizing 10 pages of the King James Bible over night, and then dictate it word for word to someone the next day. If you can do that once, try doing it for 50 days in a row.

He had crib notes pasted inside that dark hat of his.

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Jersey girl, and sentinus, I am not a expert. But this is what I see here.

The argument you are using, that the Book of Mormon was a 19th century fictional work, is tenuous at best. There are many internal evidences that this simply wasn't the case. However, if one ignores those, your argument is in the "Joseph made it up camp." One group says he was a gifted story teller and he just made it up as he went along. That would not be possible in your scenario, since you think there was preparation and revision going back and forth on a prepared manuscript.

So, you are left with the prepared manuscript version. Joseph (most likely not Joseph considering his education at the time) or others researched the esoteric and archane references, wrote it, corrected it, revised, etc. and then gave it Joseph to dictate to scribes.

But now we come to the unbelievable part of this argument: All the witnesses to the translation, not just some, but all attest that Joseph Smith did not use any manuscript pages in producing the text. He dictated to a scribe. So how did he do that? Memorized overnight? Try memorizing 10 pages of the King James Bible over night, and then dictate it word for word to someone the next day. If you can do that once, try doing it for 50 days in a row.

What I am saying is that the story in Mosiah 28-17 Does not mention ANYTHING about the Jarredites or the fact that "drew away many people" is something Mosiah LEARNED from translating.

"17 Now after Mosiah had finished translating these brecords, behold, it gave an account of the people who were cdestroyed, from the time that they were destroyed back to the building of the great tower, at the time the Lord confounded the language of the people and they were scattered abroad upon the face of all the earth, yea, and even from that time back until the creation of Adam.

18 Now this account did cause the people of Mosiah to mourn exceedingly, yea, they were filled with sorrow; nevertheless it gave them much knowledge, in the which they did rejoice.

19 And this account shall be awritten hereafter; for behold, it is expedient that all people should know the things which are written in this account.

20 And now, as I said unto you, that after king Mosiah had done these things, he took the plates of brass, and all the things which he had kept, and bconferred them upon Alma, who was the son of Alma; yea, all the records, and also the interpreters, and conferred them upon him, and commanded him that he should keep and preserve them, and also keep a record of the people, handing them down from one generation to another, even as they had been handed down from the time that Lehi left Jerusalem."

I have written many stories and in the process came up with new ideas BECAUSE of when and what I was writing. It is just as easily determined that without the mention of ANY specifics in Mosiah about what the Brass plates contained that it is internal evidence he was making it up as he went along.

I would be curious however if anyone know the approximate date for the translating of Mosiah. As it seems to me that he(Joseph) is validating something here, and using a past story to show that God has helped past prophets translate so why not me.

"11 Therefore he took the records which were engraven on the plates of brass, and also the plates of Nephi, and all the things which he had kept and preserved according to the commandments of God, after having translated and caused to be written the records which were on the plates of gold which had been found by the people of Limhi, which were delivered to him by the hand of Limhi;

12 And this he did because of the great anxiety of his people; for they were desirous beyond measure to know concerning those people awho had been destroyed.

13 And now he translated them by the means of those two stones which were fastened into the two rims of a bow.

14 Now these things were prepared from the beginning, and were handed down from generation to generation, for the purpose of interpreting languages;

15 And they have been kept and preserved by the hand of the Lord, that he should discover to every creature who should possess the land the iniquities and abominations of his people;

16 And whosoever has these things is called a seer, after the manner of old times." Sound familiar ??

And one would wonder why then did Joseph discontinue the use of this instrument that had been prepared by the Lord from the very beginning, for the use in translating in lieu of some stone he found in a well.

Now back to my last post I do not "knock" anyone for believing The BOM anymore than I would knock someone for believing the Bible, but as of yet No real hard evidence has been shown to validate the BOM, YET the Bible at least can be verified in SOME ways. Again Charity it all comes down to faith, Either Joseph was gifted and talented fraud. OR he was a prophet. I say the former you beleive the latter. Neither of us can prove the other wrong. Nor do I want to. I like you and all the posters here for who and what they are, Mormon, Ex mormon, Non Mormon, Atheist, etc. I have said this many times and I will say it again. We on this forum (about 200 or so and less who frequent) HOLD way more in common than we may even realize. It is for this reason I continue to come back and post. I even like Selek and Pahoran now (They make me laugh) I simply believe that We don't give Joseph ENOUGH credit and most constantly refer to him as some unintelligent farm boy. I for one think he was one of the greatest and most talented men in his day just not a prophet. Now this I can prove... At least IMO :P

Regards,

Sentinus

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Consiglieri,

When assessing the power of a given putative evidence for the antiquity of the Book of Mormon, we need to be careful to keep in mind--for purposes of comparison and contrast--the most likely model of 19th-century composition. And on this model some of these putative bits of evidence don't hold up.

I think the argument offered here provides a case in point.

To see why it holds little (if any) weight, we need only look at the texts in order of their 1829 dictation (and therefore, on the theory of 19th-century origins, their order of composition). Mosiah2's discourse occurs at the end of Nephite monarchy. After this, there are no narratives of Nephite monarchs with which to illustrate the point. There are, however, narratives of Jaredite monarchs dictated (and therefore possibly composed) about five weeks later, which can be used to illustrate the point. That a 19th-century author's later narratives should illustrate a premise he had earlier introduced is not particularly complex and not at all mysterious.

This datum seems to me simply neutral with respect to ancient origins or modern origins. It is an interesting feature of the text--and one that should be explored in assessing the Book of Mormon's literary technique and message, but irrelevant to ascribing authorship.

Don

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I for one think he was one of the greatest and most talented men in his day just not a prophet. Now this I can prove... At least IMO :P

Regards,

Sentinus

I don't think you see any of us LDS here saying that Joseph wasn't highly intelligent. It is a statement of fact that he was uneducated as far as writing. Emma's statement was that when he was translating the Book of Mormon he could not write a sentence on his own.

You can prove he wasn't a prophet? Please provide your proof. Thanks.

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I think whether or not it holds up is subjective. There is never a 100% agreement even on the most obvious. Reason being, opinions differ from person to person due to personal bias.

In the long run, it is necessary to get the answers from the most biased of all. God.

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Consiglieri,

To see why it holds little (if any) weight, we need only look at the texts in order of their 1829 dictation (and therefore, on the theory of 19th-century origins, their order of composition). Mosiah2's discourse occurs at the end of Nephite monarchy. After this, there are no narratives of Nephite monarchs with which to illustrate the point. There are, however, narratives of Jaredite monarchs dictated (and therefore possibly composed) about five weeks later, which can be used to illustrate the point. That a 19th-century author's later narratives should illustrate a premise he had earlier introduced is not particularly complex and not at all mysterious.

Don

Don,

Perhaps there are no later narratives of Nephite monarchs with which to compare this precisely because he has learned a principle from translating Jaredite records. That's what makes this link intriguing.

Granted, any author's (regardless of century) picking up a narrative thread later on in a continuous story is not news, and as you say, "not particularly complex" or "mysterious." Austen may introduce the theme of fall early on in Persuasion, only to abandon in briefly then pick it up later as a way to emphasize second chances later in life. Jorge Luis Borges may introduce the labyrinth theme sporadically and pick it up again at odd moments in an intertextual way. But you would have to recognize the different nuances at work here involving the earlier account being dictated later in the project, etc. It *IS* a little more complex than you would make it out to be. Perhaps not mysterious, but definitely more complex.

Regards.

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Hi J Green,

Note that the text can be read either as showing that Mosiah2 had learned from the Jaredite records or as illustrating a premise at the first available narrative opportunity. Both of these demonstrate some level of complexity--with the former exhibiting a higher level, as you suggest. But the ambiguous origins of the text make it unclear which is the authorially crafted level of complexity. If one has to assume ancient origins in order to see the higher level of complexity that is then used as evidence for ancient origins, the argument is circular.

Note also that complexity doesn't necessarily indicate ancient origins. Ancient authors could create a relatively simple narrative, while modern authors, even if uneducated, could create highly complex narratives.

I don't share the common nonbelieving bias against the complexity of the Book of Mormon text. While I don't find the above element very complex, I find the book's narrative as a whole more complex than do even the LDS readers with whom I'm acquainted. I believe the Book of Mormon to be almost fiendishly complex. And I believe it to be within Joseph Smith's abilities only because I think him to have been a narrative genius.

But that's a topic for another time and venue.

Don

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I don't think you see any of us LDS here saying that Joseph wasn't highly intelligent. It is a statement of fact that he was uneducated as far as writing. Emma's statement was that when he was translating the Book of Mormon he could not write a sentence on his own.

You can prove he wasn't a prophet? Please provide your proof. Thanks.

I don't see the relevance of the Prophet not being able to write sentences. Can you explain?

Jersey Girl

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Don,

Well said. Indeed, the argument could tend toward the circular either way. I too believe the BOM is somewhat more complex than your typical narrative, regardless of whether you approach the text with an assumption of ancient origins or not.

Cheers.

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Great observation, consiglieri.

Those who have posted negative responses to your analysis apparently don't understand the meaning of "internal evidence." Of course, your observation doesn't "prove" the Book of Mormon, but it does demonstrate another element of its internal consistency -- something that an author who is "making it up as he goes" would have great difficulty in maintaining.

If a person had control over the production of a body of work, in this case the Book of Mormon, I don't see where they'd have any difficulty at all in maintaining a story line. For what reason do you see it as presenting great difficulty to an author? Internal evidence, Will, does not prove the authenticity/veracity of a collection of literature. If one wanted to prove that a collection of literature were historical fact, they'd have to look outside of that collection for corraborating evidences.

Jersey Girl

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Hi J Green,

Note that the text can be read either as showing that Mosiah2 had learned from the Jaredite records or as illustrating a premise at the first available narrative opportunity. Both of these demonstrate some level of complexity--with the former exhibiting a higher level, as you suggest. But the ambiguous origins of the text make it unclear which is the authorially crafted level of complexity. If one has to assume ancient origins in order to see the higher level of complexity that is then used as evidence for ancient origins, the argument is circular.

Note also that complexity doesn't necessarily indicate ancient origins. Ancient authors could create a relatively simple narrative, while modern authors, even if uneducated, could create highly complex narratives.

I don't share the common nonbelieving bias against the complexity of the Book of Mormon text. While I don't find the above element very complex, I find the book's narrative as a whole more complex than do even the LDS readers with whom I'm acquainted. I believe the Book of Mormon to be almost fiendishly complex. And I believe it to be within Joseph Smith's abilities only because I think him to have been a narrative genius.

But that's a topic for another time and venue.

Don

Don,

I agree with you that this observation of consigilieri does little if anything to establish a case for BoM historicity. That said, I believe he does correctly observe that:

1- The Book of Ether contains these elements of king's sons drawing off factions.

2- King Mosiah has just been reported to have read the record of Ether.

3- King Mosiah then decides that monarchy is a bad thing.

In and of itself, it constitutes an internally-consistent story line within the greater narrative of the Book of Mormon. That's all. I don't view it as a strong internal evidence. But it certainly is not a counter-intuitive development in the story.

By the way, I don't think this is the first time you have used the phrase "fiendishly complex." I tend to agree with your assessment -- but that is a somewhat peculiar terminology you employ. Are you attempting to apply a subtle sub-commentary? :P

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